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Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.

In today’s Quickie: Oklahoma strikes down two vigilante abortion bans, CEO Alexis McGill Johnson discusses abortion and the 2024 elections with the New York Times, and Massachusetts lobbies for a comprehensive sex education bill.

OKLAHOMA VIGILANTE ABORTION BANS STRUCK DOWN — BUT ABORTION REMAINS ILLEGAL: Yesterday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down two citizen-enforced abortion bans mirroring Texas’ S.B. 8. The two copycat bans were passed in 2022 before Roe v. Wade was overturned. While abortion remains largely unavailable in Oklahoma, and the state’s pre-Roe ban remains in effect, Wednesday’s ruling ensures that Oklahoma's vigilante bans cannot hold doctors back from providing life-saving care. 

In a statement, Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said, 

“This ruling, while providing clarity in emergency situations, does not change the landscape of care significantly. But importantly, the court did strike down contradictory and unconstitutional laws that violate the rights of Oklahomans. While we are relieved the court upheld the right to abortion in medical emergencies, this does not diminish the fact that care remains out of reach for the majority of Oklahomans. We know firsthand the toll these unnecessary burdens place on our patients and we’ll continue to help those reach care when they need it most.” 

Read the press release here, and learn more at The Oklahoman

AMJ TALKS ABORTION RIGHTS IN 2024 WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES: This week, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson joined The New York Times’ The Run-Up podcast, hosted by Astead Herndon, to talk about the salience of abortion headed into the 2024 election cycle. With anti-abortion politicians banking on the idea that voters will simply forget that their freedoms were taken away and anti-abortion activists, like Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, working overtime to bamboozle voters into believing that arbitrary cut-offs are somehow a compromise on the extreme lengths they have gone, it is clear that 2024 will once again be a defining election in the fight for abortion rights and access. Alexis noted: 

“...[The opposition doesn’t] have a strategy to address the real harm that the Dobbs decision and subsequent state decisions have wrought on people. … I hear Democrats talking about this all the time — from the White House to state supreme court fights all the way to local races because people fully understand the impact. We have 20 states right now that have eliminated all or some access to abortion. So state by state, this conversation is happening in really critical ways. 

“We’ve seen clearly since the leak last year this time all the way up to the election, we saw the salience of the loss of abortion rights because people understood what it meant. Our job in the next cycle is to continue to ensure that people understand what is at stake. It’s not like you can just take away reproductive rights and people’s real freedom, and people are all of a sudden just going to forget they don’t have it.”

Listen to the full podcast here

MASSACHUSETTS MAKES MOVES FOR HEALTHY YOUTH ACT: This week, sexual and reproductive health advocates converged at the Massachusetts State House to lobby for the Healthy Youth Act, saying that the critical sex education measure, first introduced 12 years ago,  is long overdue. The bill does not mandate that Massachusetts schools offer sexual health education, but it would require that schools offering such instruction "provide a medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sexual health education."

Healthy Youth Coalition leader Jaclyn Friedman, a sex education expert, noted that a full generation of students have cycled through Massachusetts schools since the bill was introduced. New research from Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts comparing state sex education requirements puts Massachusetts below 14 other states, including some with more restrictive laws about abortion and LGBTQ+ rights (Massachusetts got a “neutral” zero rating on the researchers’ scale). PPLM Vice President of Education, Learning, and Engagement Jennifer Hart told WGBH Boston

"Young people across the country witness their rights and access to care and education eroding before their eyes. Passing the Healthy Youth Act is one way we can step up right now to ensure that our youth today, tomorrow and in the future have the access and the means to make the best decisions for their own health and safety."

Learn more about the Healthy Youth Act here


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